As I came home around lunchtime earlier today from Eastwood, we suddenly saw plumes of black smoke in the general direction of where we live. And as if on cue, seconds after seeing the smoke, my sister called me up on my mobile phone telling me to go home as soon as I can because there was a fire very near our houses! Thank goodness we were on our way as we spoke. It would’ve been psychological torture if I were far from home when something like that was happening. We got to our village at EXACTLY the same time that the first firetruck arrived. We even had to pull over to let it pass. We parked and ran immediately to the area just to see if there was any need to start moving stuff out from our houses. Before we knew it, there were so many fire trucks clogging the streets, so much that most were just on standby as the first ones to get there did the job. It was gut-wrenching to watch the firemen trying to put out the huge walls of fire coming out from the burning house. And a lot of the bystanders were panicking because in the house next to the burning one, people were still inside, armed with garden hoses, trying to keep away the flames from their house.
We were just thankful that no one perished or was hurt in the incident. And everyone breathed a sigh of relief that none of the connecting houses caught fire as well. My heart went out to the homeowners who watched helpless as the fire gutted the burning one, while they hold their breaths hoping the fire won’t spread to their own homes. Eventually, the roof caved in, the house was razed, and the fire was put out. The firetrucks pulled out, the bystanders went home, and we all thanked the heavens that a worse tragedy was averted.
It’s just so weird that just the night before, Delle and I and some friends were just talking about the fires that have hit some of our homes and how traumatized we were about it. In October 2003, we woke up at around 3am to shouts and banging at our gates to find our sister and her family asking for help because their house, which was 2 houses away from ours, was up in flames. Thankfully no one was hurt as well in that incident. We’ve all moved on, and left that incident behind us, but it still send chills up my spine every time I look back. So our hearts go out to the owners of that house that burned today, because we know how it feels to watch a house we all grew up in, a house we all loved dearly, a house our parents built from scratch with their hard-earned money, burn in front of our eyes, helpless as we watch the flames reduce it to ashes.
We just wish that the owners of the house will have the strength and grace to rise up from something so devastating because we know how hard it is to accept such a loss. It also helped that family and friends, and even neighbors and co-villagers, some of whom we hardly knew, opened up their homes and hearts to offer whatever help they could give. It was really a great comfort to see so many people coming to our aid. It started raining shortly after the fire was put out, which lent a lot of gloom to an already sad day. Tonight I say a prayer for the family’s loss and for sparing our house and the other houses from any further damage. And I can’t say it enough that thank God no one was hurt. Times like these you really count your blessings…